WOULD-BE thieves fled empty-handed from Wylam Co-op as they encountered fog cannons.

The store, targeted by burglars four times in two months between September and November, was again targeted in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

However, the store's PROTECT Fog Cannons which protect the tobacco and alcohol kicked in and released a dense fog to obscure vision. 

The equipment was installed as part of the Co-op's multi-million pound investment in innovative technology to keep colleagues safe through its Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities scheme.

Cheryl Houghton, retail loss and costs security manager at the Co-op, said: “Safety and security is our number one priority. We know that violence and crime is about much more than statistics; it is about its impact on people’s lives and the communities in which they live and work.

"As a community-based organisation we see the impact of social issues in our stores, and we’re committed to playing our part and working together to do all we can to protect colleagues and make our communities safer.”

The store has re-opened but Northumbria Police is asking anyone with information about the incident to get in touch on 101.